Here’s your fair WARNING: I am a fan of Chris O’Dowd and thoroughly enjoyed the TV version of Moone Boy, so I might just be a wee bit biased.
Imaginary friends are a common staple of a child as they grow up and learn to cope with life on their own…sort of.
Chris O’Dowd and Nick V. Murphy’s Moone Boy: The Blunder Years brings to life on the page the characters and some of the introductory situations depicted in the show. Eleven year old Martin Moone is fed up with sisterly tyranny that he endures day after day as the only boy of four children in rural Ireland. After learning about his rather simple friend Padraic’s imaginary friend (a.k.a. IF) he wants to get in on the deal. Martin’s first IF is Loopy Lou and he’s a real oddball character and not the kind of IF that Martin wanted. When a Customer Service representative, Sean “Caution” Murphy comes to follow up on Martin’s desire to switch IFs, both their lives get a bit more interesting.
The story within the book is much like the television show, but there isn’t a need to have seen the show to understand what’s presented in the pages of O’Dowd and Murphy’s imaginations. The writing and voice of the narrative is clever, witty, and infused with an age-appropriate honesty and humor. The format of the book with the loose-leaf lined pages and illustrations reminded me quite a bit of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which is a good and a bad thing. The good aspects include the holistic concept and characters being conveyed through the presentation of the book in addition to the narrative. The bad aspects include being perceived as a derivative work without many unique elements to set it apart from the pack. I found that the illustrations and footnote definitions and explanations were helpful in depicting Martin’s imagination thoroughly while still allowing the reader to employ their own imaginations to further the world built within the narrative.
Overall, I’d give this a 5 out of 5 stars.